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Katherina, the so called “shrew” of Shakespeare that gets “tamed”. I have always had a fascination with her as a character and especially for me as an actor. Nowadays, her last monologue is being questioned and held against feminist theories by scholars, actors, directors and Shakespeare lovers everywhere. On stage it is often being performed with a sarcastic attitude or in a playful way with a wink towards the audience. For me as an actor, I have always been fascinated with investigating the woman that Kate really is or could be on stage, because what she goes through during the play can also serve as an analogy for what women go through nowadays. All the societal pressures, expectations and judgements women have to endure in our modern day society, is that not the same as being “tamed”? Or the same as being expected to marry whoever comes along so that your father can marry off your younger sister?
By asking all these questions when reading this monologue, that’s where it starts getting interesting. Her words and lines get extra layers to them when you zoom in. During the intensive we had one day where we all worked on the monologue and got different exercises from Jo, our director. I had to deliver each line, in a cirkel, to one of my group mates who would either portray Bianca or Petruchio and would respond to every line with “ I want you to say….[fill in Bianca or Petruchio’s wish]”.
After this exercise I realised that I gravitated more towards the actors portraying Petruchio even though his character is very nasty to Katherina. Maybe secretly, my Kate wanted his approval?
This just shows that you can go either way with this intense monologue. Another reason to love it more!